Category : Blacksmithing

9 posts

If you’re passionate about the blacksmithing trade and want to climb up the ladder, it’s necessary to have plenty of hands-on experience. Before that, knowing what guidelines to follow is ideal if you want your skills to improve. One of the best ways to achieve this is by getting your hands on the best blacksmithing books.

With this in mind, this post will discuss 15 of the best blacksmithing books you’ll find online and offline. Undoubtedly, these books come with great advice, tips and tricks, and techniques you can master in the trade. The inspiration you get from these books will allow you to take this hobby seriously and put your skills into practice! read more

If you’re looking for a top-notch forge kit for metalworking that requires high temperatures you’ve landed in the right spot. There are different kinds of forge fuel for blacksmithing and other metalworking. Coal, Charcoal, and propane are the fuel types. Among these, propane forges kits are widely considered the ideal forge for all users, from professionals to beginners.

Propane forges are pretty easy to use and maintain too. They require very little expertise to handle and work more efficiently than their forge fuel counterparts. You can buy commercially available propane forge or build your own from a propane forge kit. read more

Can You Make Knives Out of Spikes

Railroad spikes can be used to create knives, which is a common endeavor for blacksmiths and crafters.

High-carbon steel, the material used to create railroad spikes, gives them strength and durability.
However, because they are frequently produced from lower-quality steel, the resulting blades won’t be as sharp or durable as those made from steel designed specifically for cutlery.
However, they can still be useful and make for fascinating and distinctive blades.

A blacksmith or metalworker would first heat the railroad spike in a furnace until it becomes pliable before using it to create a knife.
The spike would then be shaped into the desired blade form using hammers and other tools, and the blade would then be tempered to increase its hardness and longevity.

It’s crucial to remember that manufacturing knives require specific skills, equipment, and safety measures.
It is advised that you seek instruction and direction from a skilled forge or metalworker if you are interested in creating a spike dagger.

Damascus Blade From Spikes

In order to make a distinctive pattern on the surface of the blade, various kinds of steel are layered and forged to create a Damascus blade.
The basic process for making a Damascus sword is described as follows:

  1. Choose the Steel: For the blade, pick two or more varieties of high-carbon steel, such as 1084, 1095, or 15N20, as well as low-carbon steel, like 1018. The cutting tip of the blade is made of high-carbon steel, while the spine and base are made of low-carbon steel.
  2. Cut and Shape the Steel: To create the desired blade profile, cut the steel into pieces of similar width.
  3. Prepare the Steel: Alternately layer the steel pieces as you stack them. Although the number of levels can differ, it’s typical to use between 30 and 60 layers.
  4. Weld the Steel: Using a forge or welding equipment, join the steel sections collectively. This consolidates the stacked steel into a solid mass. To consolidate the layers and distribute the steel uniformly, forge the piece of steel by heating it in a furnace and frequently hammering it. Using a mallet and anvil, carve out the form of the blade from the stone.
  5. Blade Shape Refinement: After the blade form has been roughed out, use a grinder to further the shape and sides.
  6. With a hammer and anvil, carve off the shape of the blade from the block.
  7. Additional Shaping: After the blade shape has been roughed out, use a grinder and files to further the shape and edges.
  8. Etch the Blade: To reveal the pattern of the layered steel, etch the blade in an acid bath. This gives the surface of the blade a characteristic “Damascus” pattern.
  9. Heat treating the blade will harden it, and after that, it will be tempered to the necessary degree of hardness.
  10. Finishing the blade involves high-polish sanding and the addition of a handle made of wood, bone, or another material.

To make a mixture for quenching, you will need 5 gallons of water, 5 pounds of salt, 32 ounces of blue Dawn dishwashing liquid (28 ounces if it’s concentrated), and an appropriate amount of a wetting agent like 8 ounces of Shaklee Basic I or 7 ounces of unscented Jet-Dry or another surfactant such as Simple Green. The wetting agent helps to break down the surface tension of water and prevents the formation of a layer of air or oily residues that can act as a heat shield during quenching.

When using a rinse agent like Jet-Dry, it reacts chemically with the steel surface to allow the salt in the mixture to start attacking it immediately after exposure to air. To avoid this, have plenty of clear water ready for rinsing.

Before quenching, stir the mixture to ensure that it is well-mixed. Only quench materials with a maximum of 45-50 points of carbon, as this will harden mild steel to a Rockwell 42-45. The mixture changes color from blue to green when it is no longer effective for quenching.

Blacksmithing is a 3,500-year-old profession. Blacksmiths were working on metal projects as far back as the Bronze Age. In the past, blacksmiths had to rely on manpower to get the job done, but nowadays, industrial blacksmithing power hammers are helping to make the work much more efficient.


The Blacksmithing profession has come a long way from manual labor to a more automated process. Blacksmiths no longer have to toil long hours over the same slab of metal; industrial blacksmithing power hammers now make the job easier. Additionally, metalworking products are of superior quality compared to what was produced in the past.


Blacksmiths have been around since the beginning of modern civilization. In fact, the blacksmith profession can be traced back to the Bronze Age (about 3000-1500 BC). Blacksmiths were the toolmakers and manufacturers of their time. They were responsible for constructing tools, weapons, and machinery out of bronze, steel, and iron. There were also decorative and architectural blacksmiths who made gates, fences, and artistic pieces.

When completing these projects in the past, Blacksmiths had to rely on pure manpower; they had to hammer steel and iron by hand. This is why many blacksmiths had to be strong and able-bodied.

Luckily, today there are industrial blacksmithing power hammers available for metalworking projects.


Compared to elbow grease, industrial blacksmithing power hammers have a lot to offer modern blacksmiths in the way of convenience and ease of use.

There are two main types of blacksmith power hammers: mechanical hammers and air hammers. Mechanical hammers use a crankshaft to power the machine, while air hammers are powered by air cylinders. These motorized hammers can deliver up to 500 pounds of force. The additional power allows modern blacksmiths to bend metal more accurately. You can easily adjust and move the metal you are working on, which helps shape the entire metal piece with greater precision. For example, if you need the metal to bend at a sharper angle in a certain place, you can set your blacksmithing hammer accordingly. So all in all, you will get a better quality product when you use a power hammer.


There are a few downsides to industrial blacksmithing power hammers. For one, these hammers are much more complicated to use as compared to a regular hammer. With the basic hammers Blacksmiths previously used, all that was required was a good grip on the handle and some manpower.

But you have to be trained to use an industrial blacksmithing power hammer because there are many settings to navigate. Also, a power hammer is a dangerous tool; you have to be sure that you are taking every safety precaution when using one of these machines.


Blacksmithing requires many tools that help the blacksmith make objects from metal. Many wonderful items are made by a blacksmith like gates, horseshoes, and plant hangers. The metal is heated and pounded into the desired shape. Hammers, tongs, and files are some of the tools used by a blacksmith.

Most blacksmith tools are made of iron but some have wooden handles on them. These wood handles need to be kept clean. You can keep them clean by taking a clean soft rag and soaking it in some tongue oil. The tongue oil cleans and conditions the wood to keep the wood moist. If the wood gets too dry it can split or crack and ruin wood. A wood handle that is not cleaned and oiled will eventually need to be replaced and that can be more costly and time-consuming than keeping it clean in the first place.

Protection from Corrosion

Hammers, tongs, and other metal parts need to be oiled as well. The metal can rust even if it is kept in a dry place. Humidity can create rust on the metal in the best conditions and it can make the tools less desirable to use. If the rust is allowed to get too bad it can destroy the tool. To prevent your tools from getting rusty you need to coat them with a thin layer of oil to protect them. You can take a soft rag that has some tongue oil on it and rub it on the metal parts. Make sure you only spread a very thin layer of oil on the metal and then rub the tool with a soft dry absorbent rag to soak up any remaining oil. Let the tool air dry for a few hours before you use it.

Tools that get wet should be dried off as soon as possible to prevent the metal from forming rust. You can use a soft cotton rag to soak up the moisture and let the tool air dry completely before storing or oiling the tool

Blacksmithing tools should be kept in a dry place. The less moisture that the tools are stored in the better the tools will keep from rusting. You can hang the tools on a wall so air can get all around the tools. You can also keep them in a dry toolbox until you are ready to use them.


Those were some of the most important methods that you can use. Take good care of your tools so you can enjoy forming hot metal for years.

There is no clear cut way to becoming a blacksmith in this day and age. There are no apprenticeship programs or university degrees in blacksmithing. But if you are determined to become a blacksmith, there are ways you can learn the trade.

Blacksmithing, once a common occupation, is no longer a necessary trade due to modern machines and technology that can much more quickly and easily make the tools and other metal work that blacksmith made in the past.

As there is no formal education system for blacksmithing, you will need to forge your own path on the road to becoming a blacksmith. Some blacksmiths will take on an apprentice, but you will need to do the work to find one who will. You will need to network and make calls, and ask around. Some blacksmiths don’t like to have an apprentice. It can be a liability to have an unskilled apprentice underfoot. A blacksmith’s shop is a dangerous place, with expensive tools and equipment.

Tips for Becoming A Blacksmith

If you are serious about becoming a blacksmith, you should have some skill in metal working. You can take a courses in welding and metal working at your local college. You should have some form of industrial safety training, and these courses teach safety measures for working with hot metal, and you will learn how to use metal working equipment properly. Taking these courses may also help in finding an apprenticeship faster, as any blacksmith you approach will take you a little more seriously, plus he will know you will be less of a hazard in his shop if he decides to take you on as an apprentice.

The Artist Blacksmith Association of North America, or ABANA, is an excellent resource for those trying to enter the world of blacksmithing. Go to their website and find a local affiliate group, (or the nearest one to you that you can find), and attend meetings. You will be able to gain important knowledge on blacksmithing opportunities, and meet professional and amateur blacksmiths. Networking is important for many career choices, but in blacksmithing, it is almost a necessity.

There is much to be learned from books, blacksmithing publications and websites. Much of your training will come from classes and workshops run by other blacksmiths. You will have to do your research, as these are hard to find.


In the world of blacksmithing, you have to dig for opportunities. They certainly won’t come to you. You must be diligent and persistent, and do a lot of research to find your way to becoming a professional.

Floral forms and leaf work are among the most challenging types of metalwork. This is due, in part, to the visual delicacy that must be achieved in metal. Then there is the inevitable comparison with the ‘real things’ found in nature.

The range of leaf and floral motifs is as broad as the types of process that can be employed to achieve them. They can be incised, chased and made from sheet, plate, round or square bar, with processes that are hot in some examples and cold in others. This new series on floral motifs will cover the processes that produced everything seen here and more.

As you work through different leaf or floral forms realize that much of the leaf work seen in a historic context was the product of specialists. They were blacksmiths who just did leaf work in styles, and with tools, that they had begun to use as children in an apprenticeship. If they started at 10 years old, by the time they were 30, they had 20 years of focused experience.

Tips for Creating Such Patterns

As blacksmiths today, we are usually generalists rather than specialists so it may not be practical to focus and master the entire realm of floral process and effects. Instead, pick what you would like to master in the way of style and process, then learn the tools and techniques while doing test (practice) pieces.


Pay close attention to each step taken, each tool applied and the temperature (color) or annealing of the metal, so that specific adjustments can be made. Things to consider include a more polished, softer-edged tool to reduce tool marks; the need to anneal more often to end cracking, to use rivets instead of a weld or where to modify a pattern to make cutting easier.


Floral forms and leaf work, in architectural ironwork or furniture, need to be addressed at the drawing board before the first metal is cut or forged. Here are some things to work through at the drawing board, using a leaf as an example.


Purpose: What is the leaf supposed to do for the design? Is the leaf to fill a space, cover a joint between two or more bars, be a decorative flourish, add color?


This decision (“hmm, all of the above”!) leads to; Process choices: Will the leaf blank be repousse’ in sheet, forged and formed from bar stock or cut and chased from either a forged blank or sheet metal? Before this answer is chiseled in steel, one other consideration is…


Joinery: How will the leaf, as it fills a space, covers joints while adding a colorful, decorative flourish to the work, actually get ‘fastened’ to that work? In some cases, joinery can influence the choice of process. Hence, having decided the use or ‘purpose’ for the leaf, joinery and process are co-considered. What follows is an example.


The room divider shown above has bronze leaf work that covers joints in some places and serves as colorful finials in other places, such as on some scrolls. The leaves in both applications use the same patterns* and forming process. Where the leaves differ is in the joinery. The stem of the leaf that covers a joint is formed and then riveted onto the bar stock. The stem of the leaf at the end of a scroll is rolled into a tube and gas welded onto a forged bronze bar which is in turn brazed to the prepared end of a forged steel scroll. The leaf patterns had to bemodified so there was material in the right place for their respective joinery. Once these location-based joinery decisions are made, the process and pattern can be addressed.


Now it’s time to head to the shop. Full scale patterns with the joinery resolved and which are matched to the right materials, tools and process, will make floral forms and leaf work much easier.

Choosing a welding process to improve efficiency is a major issue. In general, it can be confirmed that the more automated the welding process, the higher the efficiency will be.

However, we must not forget the criterion of quality according to the customer’s specifications. Another criterion not to be overlooked in this reflection: can this process be used on site or only in the workshop? From Welding & CNC you can have the best solutions with the welding and blacksmithing works. read more